Film & TV

Film Review: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

When the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second ice age.

Humorous, light, predicable, and enjoyably nostalgic

This film is like a warm bowl of chicken soup on a cold day, providing comfort and familiarity for any fan of its original. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is the sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) and the fifth instalment in the Ghostbusters franchise.

Do we need to have watched the previous film/s? The answer to that question would be no, although it does add depth and humour to the experience if you have. For example, at one point Paul Rudd as Gary Grooberson when talking with partner Carrie Coon as Callie Spengler, starts in dialogue (not song) to say the words of the iconic theme song. For the audience of the evening, I would say only about half of us laughed at this point.

There were the more obvious points of humour throughout the show, and with a rating of PG these were light and family friendly. In keeping with the family appeal, Finn Wolfhard as Trevor Spengler and Mckenna Grace as Phoebe Spengler both return, Trevor now 18 and Phoebe, 15. The Spengler family now live in New York City (including Gary) having moved into the old Ghostbusters’ headquarters, just in time to save the world from freezing over due to the escape of Garraka from an ancient artefact.

They join forces with some of the original Ghostbusters team, Bill Murray as Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Stantz, Ernie Hudson as Zeddemore, and Annie Potts as Melnitz. William Atherton as Walter Peck also comes back (he was from the original 1984 film, although his role is now as mayor), and his longstanding dislike of the Ghostbusters just as strong.

The best part of this film for me is how it captured the charm of the original Ghostbusters film made in the eighties. Fittingly, at the end, the dedication is to ‘Ivan’; Ivan Reitman directed and produced the original 1984 film. From its storytelling approach to its visual aesthetic, it felt like a heartfelt homage to the past. There was no overly complex plot to work out and the humour was mischievous and fun. The characters in the film were all personable, likeable and inherently good (with the exception of the villain of course!).

If you want to thoroughly enjoy this film, you need to put it in the context of the era in which it was originally made. It immerses us as viewers into a retro atmosphere in multiple ways and this nostalgia is what I enjoyed the most, and in many ways, the joy of simplicity is missed in some of the more modern films. I find many of the modern films of this genre purely seek to really astonish the audience with their grotesque villains or special effects. Although ironically, it must be said that the original 1984 film was the first comedy film to successfully incorporate special effects! There was no over reliance on special effects to wow the audience this time around. They were effective of course but not one of the main drawcards for viewers.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire just feels wholesome and will have you leaving the cinema, purely and simply, feeling good.

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